The Cloverleaf Bowl opened in 1959 and has been owned by the same family since 1963. Now, the COVID-19 pandemic is being blamed for the Fremont alley's permanent closure.(Photo courtesy of Cloverleaf Bowl)

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Fremont’s Cloverleaf Bowl, for more than six decades an iconic favorite in this community, is closing permanently.

Mike Hillman, co-owner of Cloverleaf Bowl and whose family purchased it in the spring of 1963, made the announcement. The Fremont landmark has been closed since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in mid-March.

“Through the past four-plus months, we have held out hope for a reopening date, a date that has not come from the state or the county of Alameda,” a statement released Friday from Cloverleaf’s owners released said. “With the current status of the state of California, it appears that bowling is still months away from an opening date and especially in Alameda County.”

The bowling center, on Grimmer Boulevard near Fremont Boulevard in the city’s Irvington District, originally opened in 1959. Hillman’s grandparents purchased the center in March 1963. Together with co-owner Jim Chambers, Hillman and his family have operated Cloverleaf for more than 57 years.

“Over the past 57 years, we have been fortunate to meet so many wonderful people and families,” the statement said. “Some folks started bowling with us in 1963 and are still league bowling with us in 2020. Be it league, casual bowling, special events or tournaments, we were always appreciative to see you enter through our doors.”

Cloverleaf Bowl grew as Fremont grew. When the bowling center opened in 1959, only 43,000 people lived in the city. Today, Fremont is the fourth-largest city in the Bay Area with 240,000 residents.

Hillman cited “the high monthly cost of sitting here without any income” to offset monthly rent, utilities and insurance as the reasons for the decision to close permanently.